Annecy is one of my favorite cities, in the east of France, in Savoie near the Swiss, famous for its lake. I go there several times a year. It’s about 4 hours from Paris by TGV, and 2 hours from Lyon by car.
This is one of the cities I fell in love with for the history and the beautiful location close to the mountains. The whole is very poetic. It’s an historic site because the first traces of life around the lake go back to prehistory. The lake was formed at the end of the Glaciation, corresponding to the gradual melting of the great alpine glaciers, that is to say during a period around -17000 before JC.
The story of the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau is also very related to the region. He lived in Annecy around 1730, where he fell in love with Françoise de Warens. He later wrote about Miss de Warens : « Je l’aimais trop pour la convoiter” (in english “I loved her too much to lust for« . He also made his musicians debut at St. Peter’s Cathedral. The relationship will end gradually until 1742, when Rousseau leave definitely in Paris.
Savoie was Italian. It wasn’t until March 12, 1860 that the secret preliminary convention recognizing the cession of Savoy to France was signed at Turin. A plebiscite is held in April 1860. Voters must answer the question « Does Savoie want to be reunited with France?« . The answer is almost unanimous yes, and in June 1860, Savoie officially becomes French.
Nowadays, Savoie is a destination appreciated by tourists. “Savoie Mont Blanc Tourism Observatory” publishes statistics every year. Savoie Mont Blanc is by far the first French destination for winter mountain tourism, bringing together about 30% of the market (Hautes-Alpes : only 8%). It’s also a great destination for the summer. Lake Annecy is full of activities for children and adults.
Here are some of my favorite places/activities in Annecy. I can not name them all and I will probably add others when I have time!
Annecy Public Library: This is not necessarily the first place we think about when we are on vacation, but the public library of Annecy is a nice and quiet place, with lots of books for children. Surely a better idea than putting them in front of screens! I have seen that since recently they have organized writing sessions for teenagers and adults. That’s great !
1 Rue Jean Jaurès, 74000 Annecy – http://bibliotheques.annecy.fr
Biking : Biking around the lake is really top and quite accessible to all. Uh, I mean “to all” if you don’t take the unbounded paths… always funny to venture but not with a child’s wheeled bike. The landscape is really beautiful from the top. You can easily stop and have a picnic, and there are often spaces made for.
Aquatic activities: There is a lot, lot, lot of fun things to do on the lake (boat, “pedalo” – don’t know the word in english, I’ll search…, or just swimming !). I love taking the motor boat to go swimming further. You can rent them for like few hours or less. I think remembering that for 1 hour it is like 50 or 60€. It depends on the boat, and there are some that are conductive without a license.
La Cave (Wine Bar) : Ok so I looooove Wine so anywhere I go, I always check winebar. There is a wide choice of wines. You can eat oysters, charcuterie, cheese.
8 rue du Pâquier, 74000 Annecy – http://www.barlacave.fr
“Beer O’Clock”: It’s a cool place to have a beer with a lot of varieties. There are sometimes theme nights (halloween for example) and concerts. You have a prepaid card system that allows you to use beers directly, with the quantity you want.
18 Faubourg Sainte-Claire, 74000, Annecy, France – http://www.beeroclock.fr
Annecy Castle : architecture of the Middle Ages, there are collections from medieval sculpture to contemporary art. Children can also participate in a workshop visit related to the collections.
Funny Parc : “Funny Parc” is a playground for children, with mini golf, trampolines, inflatable castles, etc. etc. and it’s in front of the lake.
30 Avenue d’Albigny 74000 Annecy – http://www.funnyparc.com
Walk in the old city in the evening: The old city is even more beautiful at night, with illuminated streets, often animated.